By Larry S. Kang

Whether kayaking in the territory of the great white sharks or on a gentle stream in the backwoods, kayaking is a great hobby to take up. A kayak for the most part have long narrow covered decks, however, there are kayaks that are the sit on top kind. The difference between a kayak and a canoe is that a canoe is typically wider and seats the paddler higher up. Kayakers, unlike canoers, use double bladed, rather than single bladed paddles.

Kayaking is an adventure that many people enjoy. It is an outdoor activity that takes you places and allows you to experience and explore nature. For example, whitewater kayaking involves kayaking down the rapids, while ocean kayaking or sea kayaking, involves taking your kayak out into the ocean or an open body of water. Sea kayaking can also involve shorter trips, with the paddler returning to the starting point, or expeditions covering many miles and many days. This type of kayaking has steadily been increasing in popularity since the 1990's and has grown into a very popular sport through into the 21st century.

Kayaks are known to be classified by their use. Some of the many types and uses of kayaks include: polo, surf, slalom, whitewater, touring/day trips, and general recreation. Also, from each of these categories there are also sub classes. Within these classifications are also many levels of performance which will further separate the models of the kayaks.

There are two configurations of kayaks. One is the cockpit style of kayak and the other is the sit on top style. Obviously, with the sit on top kayak you are sitting on top of the kayak in an open area. The cockpit kayak involves sitting with your legs and hips within the kayak's hull and using a spray skirt that will create a water resistant seal around your waist. Both the sit on top and the cockpit style configurations are very popular among recreational kayaks. Most kayaks are designed to be used for a single person; however, there are kayaks that fit more than one person. Kayaks are also a great transportation when engaging in other sports, such as wilderness exploration, scuba diving and fishing.

Kayaking does require gear, however, and there are a few things you will need to get before you start. Obviously, aside from the kayak, you will need a paddle. Paddles come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The best thing to do is to find the one that is best suited for your size, the dimensions of your kayak, and the type of paddling you will be doing.

You also must include a life jacket or a personal flotation device, and can also bring along a spare paddle, a throw line that is at least 15 meters long and made from floating rope, a bailing device or pump, and some sort of signaling device such as a whistle.

Other things available for you to bring on board to make your kayaking experience a more enjoyable one are dry bags for storage of your gear, a compass and a variety of clothing from wet suits to dry suits, paddling footwear and hats. This can be an enjoyable sport or hobby and it is vital to make sure you take all the necessary precautions to not only stay safe but to ensure the best experience in the sport. Stay warm and safe - remember proper clothing as well as gear, which should include a wet suit if the water temperature or air temperature is below about 62 degrees.

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